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Abstract

This study compared the effectiveness of water and land based balance specific exercise in older adults. Twelve participants engaged in either water (W) or land (L) exercise consisting of a standard class and balance training. Both classes exercised for 60 minutes, 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Balance tests were administered pre- and postintervention. A 2x2 factorial ANOVA with repeated measures on the second factor (p < .05) demonstrated that participants of both groups improved significantly in functional reach, times “up & go,” step test right and left leg, and 6-min walk. No changes were found in tandem gait, one-leg stance or between the exercise conditions. These results suggest that when both water and land-based programs focus on balance specific training the mode of exercise is less important than the specificity of the intervention. I conclude that water exercise is an important mode to consider for improving balance in older adults due to the supporting nature and the safe exercise environment of the water.

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